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Taliban: Does the movement's continued control of Afghanistan depend on China?

Taliban: Does the movement’s continued control of Afghanistan depend on China?

  • John Simpson
  • BBC international affairs editor

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Taliban fighters and Pakistani soldiers guard the busy Torkham border crossing side by side

The Khyber Pass is one of the greatest wilderness passages, so rugged that it is almost impossible to pass due to its steep slopes, it stretches from the Afghan border to the Peshawar Valley 20 miles (32 km) away in Pakistan.

For three thousand years, armies in the valleys wrestled with these narrow rocky passages and set up encampments in their valleys. The insignia of the regiments of British and British Indian armies that crossed this pass can still be seen, and are still carefully preserved along the sides of the pass overlooked by the forts built by the British to guard the road.

was Pashtun men Armed with old Gesells or primitive pistols, holed up in rock tops, they shoot soldiers passing through with amazing precision.

Nowadays trucks loaded with agricultural produce from Afghanistan drive through sharp turns and sometimes men and boys cling to the sides of these trucks while old people walk on the sides of the road with stooped backs carrying crates of smuggled goods on their backs.